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How to homeschool when money is tight

Have you looked through a curriculum catalog lately? If so, you have probably noticed that there are a countless number of homeschool products on the market these days, and the cost of them can really add up. Fortunately, homeschooling doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. If you're running short on school funds, consider one or more of these cost-saving measures.

Homeschooling doesn't have to cost a bundle. Learn how to save money with these tips.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  1. Buy used materials. Used homeschool materials can be purchased in-person or online. The APACHE homeschool group in Peoria holds a curriculum sale each year. In Bloomington, Duckygirl's Resale sells homeschool items year-round. Online, try a local Facebook sale group, eBay or Homeschool Classifieds.
  2. Borrow from friends. One benefit of making friends with other homeschoolers is that you may be able to borrow non-consumable materials from them. Just be sure to take care of their items. And of course, be generous with your materials in return.
  3. Make use of the library. The library is a great place to find all sorts of books, plus audio books, videos, magazines and other educational materials. Why buy all your books when you can borrow them at no cost? Many libraries, including the Peoria Public Library, even lend e-books.
  4. Include educational websites and shows. If you have internet access, there is a wealth of free material available to you, such as educational websites. Youtube has a number of informative videos on all sorts of topics. With a Netflix subscription, you can stream educational shows right to your television or computer. Of course, internet use should always be properly supervised by a responsible adult.
  5. Purchase reproducible materials. Some companies have strict rules about copying their materials, so please respect their wishes. However, other publishers expressly state that it's okay to copy their product for use within a single family. If you're deciding between two curricula, the one that you can reuse for all of your children might be the better long-term investment.
  6. Consider digital formats. E-books are often cheaper than paper copies. You could save significantly, especially if it's a reproducible item, such as a workbook, that you plan to use with more than one child. Of course, as you decide whether to go with digital or traditional formats, consider the cost of printing pages and the future revenue you could miss out on by reselling a paper copy.
  7. Write your own curriculum. Not everyone needs to purchase a pre-packaged curriculum. You may be able to pull together your own materials and save yourself a large chunk of change. Need tips? Here are ideas that can help you get started.
  8. Sell what you don't need. Do you have curriculum lying around that you no longer use? Resell it and put the proceeds toward the next batch of items you need. Even if you don't have outgrown curriculum lying around, you might have other unwanted items whose sale could fund your homeschool purchases.

How do you save money on homeschool materials?

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